We get to decide, and no one tells you that. Call ourselves passengers on this ride, remind ourselves to keep hands and feet inside at all times, valuables stowed away safe and secure. This thing has rails, we tell ourselves, we’ll end where we’ll end and get jostled along the way. Forgetful species, aren’t we humans?
What if I told you there’s more to this story than the Disney-like ride we stand in line for and feel helpless upon? What if I told you a little secret?
We get to decide the journey we’re on, we get to decide what matters along the way.
There are no rails. There’s no one controlling the speed, no one with their hand on the big red button should things go wrong. It’s us, and it’s always been us, and we get to decide if this wild carnival rollercoaster is beautiful, or haunting, triumphant, or altogether disappointing. We get to pick, and we get to do so every single day. Somewhere along the way we forget, and maybe I’m here, here at the start of a new year, a new chapter blank and inviting, to remind you. Turns out, there are some ways you can achieve this, simple ways to incorporate more appreciation, happiness, and intention. My lovely wife does something almost every day (don’t worry, she gets busy and forgets days too, no one is perfect) that she picked up from a movie we watched and were surprised to enjoy as much as we did.
The film was called “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” and it was the last 3 words that inspired us both, me through writing, and she through sketches and watercolor paint. I won’t spoil the film, so go watch it, but basically we do this every day:
Find something, some tiny perfect thing, worth remembering. Every. Damn. Day.
A strange thing happens when we do this: what begins as an effort-based practice, begins to happen automatically. Whereas we begin reminding ourselves to notice, to seek out the little gems, to write them down, to paint them, before long we just do it because we don’t know how to not do it. We notice more, we appreciate more, we see more, and because we do this, it softens the edges of our frustrations, our sorrows, our anxieties or apprehensions. Slowly, surely, we start choosing (without knowing we’re choosing at all) to see the best bits, and let the worst ones go. Ah, my loves, I cannot tell you the lightness that comes when we don’t carry the weight of all the burdens life tries to throw our way.
Tiny perfect things, it turns out, are helium to the air that surrounds us. They are a lightness that loop around our wrists and lift us above a lot of the nonsense we get bogged down on. They are a crane for Artax in the Swamps of Sadness, and the pull us from the muck and bother, back into the light that we know is there, just beyond the borderlands of fog and dark. Trust me, I know this to be true.
So, my first bit of what I am sure will be many, many bits over the year to come, the year that will be 2023 (that rhymed), is this:
Make yourself a map, or a list, or a journal, or a sketchbook, of one tiny perfect thing each day. Start there. Then make it two. Then three. Then, then, then, then.
See what happens, see how your heart shifts, see where you end up. Get off the Disney rails, get onto the open road. Make these little moments worth saving the breadcrumbs for yourself, back to the joy you knew in youth, but lost somewhere along the way.
I cannot wait to see what you see.
moments of a simple day.
Tiny perfect things.